Archive for the 'Book Picked Me' Category

Welcome to the Departure Lounge

Thoughts wttdlbymf Adventures in Mothering Mother by Meg Frederico, Random House 2009, 191 pages

From the blurb:

A fresh, funny new voice, Meg Federico showcases her keen eye for the absurd in this poignant, hilarious, and timely account of one daughter’s tumultuous journey caring for her aging parents.

When Meg Federico’s eighty-year-old mother and newly minted step-father were forced to accept full-time home care, she imagined them settling into a Norman-Rockwellian life of docile dependency. With a family of her own and a full time career in Nova Scotia – a thousand miles away from her parents – Federico hoped they would be able to take care of themselves for the most part, and call on their children when they really needed them – but of course that’s not quite what happens.

As she watches with horror from the sidelines, Federico’s parents turn into terrible teens. Fighting off onslaughts of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, Addie and Walter, forbidden by doctors to drink, conspire to order cases of scotch by phone; Addie’s attendant accuses the evening staff of midnight voodoo; Walter’s inhibitions decline as dementia increases and mail-order sex aides arrive at the front door. The list of absurdities goes on and on as Federico tries to take some control over her parents’ lives – and her own.

This is a story for the huge generation – nearly 76 million people – now dealing with the care of their parents. You’ll laugh and cry as you read this powerful and important debut.

I know I grabbed this one off the shelf because it was short, it  had lived on my shelf for some years and I was hoping it would be funny. Well. I should have known better. Attempting to insert this as a stopgap read while stalling the ending to Salem’s Lot, I realized once again that the horrors of real life always trump the scary nasty monstor du jour created by the mind of Stephen King.

Hats off to Jenny –who has convinced me that Reading-the-End-Before-Reading-the-Middle has its advantages; I skipped over the 4th-7th chapters, read the last two plus Epilogue and then skimmed back over whatever I had to to place it all in context. The book didn’t suffer.

In fact, I thank Frederico for the care and compassion she showed her mother and shares here with her readers. I appreciated the advice on some key isuses. Some GOOD ADVICE that I didn’t know: important to choose hospice at ‘that time’ because they have powers and options that smooth the process for dying at home; like access to pain meds and death pronouncement. Saves a bunch of hassle apparently. No one needs more hassle at that time when you really all need peace. The author’s experiences were interesting, both crazy sad and funny, and she is an excellent writer.

However, I can’t quite imagine who this book is for. Those who are in the midst of going through the challenges of taking care of parents might not want to read about it and those who are not near this phase of life, probably don’t want to know about it.

I encourage anyone interested in the slightest to click on the cover and read the reviews – many are just SPOT ON and thus I won’t attempt to recreate my own review.

Rating:  Three slices of pie.

wian15 Could count for two categories of this year’s What’s in a Name Challenge! familial relation and title with ING.


Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Death in the Garden

Thoughts dintgbyei by Elizabeth Ironside, Felony & Mayhem Press, 1995, 294 pages

FOR:  Neighborhood Book Club

FIRST Sentence: “Today at half-past two in the afternoon I was acquitted of the murder of my husband.”

What’s it ABOUT:  The story obviously begins with a trial and a murder and probable marital strife; we also get to experience the trauma of the world between and of the two world wars. Here’s what happens and how it is setup:  Diana is having a birthday and she invites a few of her favorite friends – mind you, these friends are not friends of the husband’s. Diana is a very interesting person and it is her husband who is murdered at that birthday party weekend. The year is 1925.

“Fanny herself had no money, no education and only erratic employment, most recently and implausibly in a bookshop. “How can that be?” Diana had once said to her husband. “She doesn’t know how to read.” George’s silence was his habitual response to Diana’s sharpness.”

THEN, we jump to the early 1990s and meet Diana’s great niece, Hannah, a single woman, and thus by default?* hard-working, rising-star attorney in London.

“…those (birthdays with) zeros. Not at 20 perhaps, but at 30 it begins, the casting of accounts, the recalling of doors not opened and roads not taken. Only in noise and distraction, companionship and conversation becoming progressively more sentimental, could it be avoided.”

Diana, referred to as “the Great Aunt”, dies in her 98th year. Hannah inherits the estate, or most of it –Diana has made a point to will lots and lots of money and goodies to all the females in the family. What? She was wealthy?! None of the family members are aware of her fortune and certainly not her past – the fact that she was acquitted of murder. To them, she was just a lovely old lady who tended her garden. It was crazy to think she was once a wild woman who experienced anything dramatic. They decide to find out what really happened.

Hannah has her own secrets…

“He, who had for weeks or days been the peaceful background hum of her existence, suddenly became the only sound in her universe.”

Just like Trish, I am not one to try and guess the whodunnits or even want to spot if any zany twists, forcing any unravelings of plot. I adored this story and how it unfolded! I was, as they say, on the edge of my seat and this was a wonderful way to temper my #SalemAlong reading of ‘Salem’s Lot.

“Edith, she works in order not to think. At home it would be impossible to spend a few days among such people without any discussion of ideas.”

It’s not just the turns, the reveal and the various character studies; it was the analysis of marriage and independence. Of feminism and how women had/have to assert themselves, or not. Of careers and ambition, the balance of power. There is a lot here to admire – in the thoughts expressed and how the author presents all of it in the story.

“For Pia, any weakness or shame, such as that George had inadvertently revealed, filled her with the desire to protect and shelter, to hide the exposed place. George had shown a crack to the base of his soul. He saw himself as a failure. He had married Diana to use her beauty and talent to shore up the gaping fissures in his personality and found that they could not be used.”

What’s GOOD/NOT so good? . . .  SKIP . . .

FINAL Thoughts: I think we will have a LOT to discuss at meeting and I am really hoping that this book charmed the others in club as much as I was charmed.

RATING: There were zero pie mentions (and no lobster ones, either, I’m afraid) but I still give this FIVE slices. Let’s go with MINCE MEAT PIE since Mincemeat Pie Day is October 26.



ha-ha – sunk fence

alpinism – climbing the Alps

soubrette – frivolous young woman in comedies

kedgeree – an Indian dish of seasoned rice, beans, lentils, and sometimes smoked fish

danegeld – an annual tax believe to have been imposed originally to buy off Danish invaders in England

Stakhanovite – a Soviet industrial worker awarded recognition and special privileges for output beyond production norms

charabanc – a sight-seeing motor coach

ukase – a proclamation by a Russian emperor or govt having the force of law, edict

*    default: how can a girl/woman of 30 yo not have a husband or significant other? might as well be good at your job since you have no one to take care of…  sheesh…


Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Sorcerer to the Crown

Thoughts sorcerer_front mech.indd Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, Ace Books 2015, 371 pages


I wanted to read this when Aarti mentioned it. Not sure why exactly, it certainly isn’t my typical read, but I was somehow captivated and knew this would be my first book for #Diversiverse 2015.

I am so glad that I acted on this impulse – I loved it!

I loved it for the vocabulary. See below.

I loved it for the energy, the vivacity.

I loved it for the confounding character of Prunella. She was unique and I loved her power-forward attitude.

I won’t review it – you can read Aarti’s review, or Jenny’s or Olduvai’s.

I want to read the next in the series. Crazy, right? (Long time readers of this blog know that I am usually a one and done (or not at all a fan) on series…) And on that note, I can say that the ending is sufficient as a stand alone book. Whew.

I should probably look for a GIF to do that whew… (and a BIG thank you to Jenny – my favorite GIF-ologist – for the always appreciated assistance: the right-click on image trick worked…)

Maybe not quite the right whew but it is VERY IMPORTANT to me when a series book does NOT end on a crazy annoying cliffhanger. (Patrick Ness I’m looking at you.)

One more cool thing… The Faery King has a lobster courtier.  copleyl But, of course.


Question for those of you all in the know, this book would be an excellent gift for a 14 year old, yes?

And finally, a book connection coincidence link:  and I quote “Since the decision to become a parent is invariably self interested, it is my belief that a parents obligation is to the child, and the child’s obligation is to itself.” –> this reminds me of the issue that irked me in the book I reviewed prior to this one. I LIKE this quote.


VOCAB – I learned a lot in this book. About magic and fantasy terms, mostly. I didn’t note page numbers this time, sorry.

manumit – (a word that shocks me that I don’t know) – release from slavery; set free

demesne – land attached to a mansion; legal possession of land

emolument – the returns arising form office or employment, usually in form of compensation; advantage

lamia – female vampire

cantrip – a witch’s trick

sigil – seal, signet, sign to have occult power

stoichiometry – branch of chemistry dealing with application of laws of definite proportions and conservation of mass/energy

froward – habitually disposed to disobedience

asafetida – the dried fetid gum resin of the root of several west Asian plants; flavor or medicine

theurgy – art of compelling or persuading a god to do or refrain

prolix – using too many words!!!

redound – to have a particular result

bombazine – a silk fabric in twill weave, dyed black

thaumaturgy – the performance of miracles/magic (doh)

dogsbody – a person who is given boring, menial tasks to do.

louche – disreputable or sordid in a rakish or appealing way.

putative – generally considered

dropsical – affected with an accumulation of an excessive amount of watery fluid in cells, tissues, or body cavities

bougie – a thin, flexible surgical instrument for exploring or dilating a passage of the body. OR urban dictionary: Aspiring to be a higher class than one is.

beldam – a malicious and ugly woman, especially old,  witch.

dido – perform mischievous tricks or deeds.

gutta percha – a hard, tough thermoplastic substance that is the coagulated latex of certain Malaysian trees

cant – lively, lusty

AND one that my i{Phone app for Merriam-Webster didn’t have (there were more but I didn’t capture)








Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

H is for Hawk

Thoughts hifhbyhm H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, Random House Audio 2014, 11 hours 6 minutes

I’m already declaring this a TOP READ/LISTEN for 2015!

Anonymous Interviewer aka AI: Care, how did you come to read this?

Care: I saw a tweet announcing it as an Audible special for $2.99. Since, I knew I had only a few hours left of my current audiobook and lots of days left in the month to await my next credit, I jumped.

AI: Did you know anything about it? Had you read any good reviews?

Care: Excellent question because no, I didn’t really know much about it but yes, I do think I had read positive things? I DID know that the title fits the What’s in a Name Challenge for the animal category, so it has that going for it.

AI: I thought you were going to read Elegance of the Hedgehog for WiaN8.

Care: So did I, but it just kept getting passed over by my mood to read something else. I do hope to read Hedgehog someday but maybe not anytime soon, I guess.

AI: So what’s the Hawk book about?

Care: H is for Hawk is a fascinating overlapping memoir — and more! It is part nature book, falconry how-to book, grief exploration book and part biography of TH White, the author of The Once and Future King.

AI: So this is memoir?

Care: Yes, nonfiction. (I admit, I didn’t know this until after I started listening to the book.)

AI: Tell us about the author.

Care: Sure, and I first must say if I haven’t already, that the author does an EXCELLENT job narrating her own book.

AI: Is this unusual?

Care: What, that authors narrate their own books or that they actually do this successfully?

AI: Yea, that.

Care: I think Neil Gaiman is one author that does a great job and I have found that entertainers such as comedians always seem to do a very good job narrating their own books, but I can’t say that Donna Tartt pulled off a successful narration. (I did manage to listen all the way to the end of the 16 hour plus audio of The Secret History! YAY ME.)

Care: May I interrupt to give a NEVERWHERE READALONG SHOUT OUT? Nancy is doing a readalong if anyone has ever wanted to read this – I highly recommend the audiobook. My review is here.

AI: Do you have a button to share or maybe a hashtag for Twitter?

Care: As a matter of fact, I do know the hashtag #NeverwhereRAL, but I don’t know about a button. And if you click on the words a few sentences ago about the readalong shout out, you’ll open a window at Nancy’s blog…

AI: OK, tell us more about Helen Macdonald.

Care: Ms. Macdonald, a British naturalist writer, is a college professor who has also been interested in falconry since a very young age. There is also a terrific photo of Mabel on her blog (which may or may not be active; it looks like the events might be for 2014, a year done passed.)

AI: Um, Mabel? Who is Mabel?

Care: Mabel is her goshawk! Macdonald says in her book that if you give a goshawk a mild meek-sounding name, they usually turn out to be terrific hunters! (and vice versa.) Here’s a photo of another goshawk that I found on the internet:

goshawk <– Sindbad the Goshawk, photo credit to The International Falconry Forum

AI: To be totally honest, this book sounds not only boring but slightly depressing, even with a lovely named bird like Mabel.

Care: And you would be wrong. This book is delightful. It has ALL the feelings. Sure, it is about how she went through the stages of grief after losing her father but it also has many funny almost comic moments – also, angry and frightening. Her writing is beautiful, provocative. She is known as a naturalist writer for good reason. She is just an excellent writer! She is smart, she is tender, she is strong, she is brave and she shares every bit of it with eloquence.

And you learn about so much stuff that you didn’t even know you wanted to know about. THAT is a great book.Helen Macdonald

AI: Care to share a quote or two?


“And I found there were myriad definitions of this thing called tragedy that had wormed its way through the history of literature; and the simplest of all was this: that it is the story of a figure who, through some moral flaw or personal failing, falls through force of circumstance to his doom.”

AI: I have nothing else to ask, maybe your readers will have more questions. This concludes this audiobook review presentation interrogation. Thank you.

Care: Thank YOU.


Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.


Thoughts gbydd : How Newport Became America’s Richest Resort by Deborah Davis, John Wiley & Sons 2009, 309 pages

Bookblurb from goodreads:

A beautifully written history of high society in Newport, Rhode Island, from the acclaimed author of Party of the Century. Newport is the legendary and beautiful home of American aristocracy and the sheltered super-rich. Many of the country’s most famous blueblood families – the closest thing we have to royalty – have lived and summered in Newport since the nineteenth century. The Astors, the Vanderbilts, Edith Wharton, JFK and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Doris Duke, and Claus and Sunny von Bulow are just a few of the many names who have called the city home. Gilded takes you along as you explore the fascinating heritage of the Newport elite, from its first colonists to the newest of its new millennium millionaires, showing the evolution of a town intent on living in its own world. Through a narrative filled with engrossing characters and lively tales of untold extravagance, Davis brings the resort to life and uncovers the difference between rich and Newport rich along the way.

WHY I read this:  I was SO looking forward to walking to the Island Book Store in Newport because I like independent bookstores and I knew exactly which book I would buy once I got there: Newport by Jill Morrow (pub’d in July)  but AGHAST! They didn’t  have it! So, the wonderful staff suggested I read Gilded instead. Thinking that I hadn’t read any nonfiction in too long, I bought it.

The private beach for the richest of the set.

The private beach for the richest of the set.

What’s it ABOUT: The description above is right on. It mentions everyone who is everyone and also discusses the decades since the real hey-days when the mansions were being built and even shares about the ‘current’ Newportians (well, to pub date). I didn’t know much about the Tennis Club nor how the Jazz Festival got its start, so I learned alot! I have read a couple of books on the Vanderbilts but not much else outside of the sphere of the mansion-tour-brochures. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to visit any more mansions on this latest trip but I WILL! I will – next time. I love Newport.

Current goings-on…   You all know who Larry Ellison is, right? Oracle Computers? He bought the Beechwood Mansion and seems to be TOTALLY restoring the thing!  I was told that he is having to LIFT it and pour a new foundation.


And who among you has an Alex & Ani bracelet? I sadly did not even venture into their flagship store but supposedly they (the fam) is busy restoring Belcourt Castle (first built as a bachelor pad for a rich dude and his horses but then he married Alva Vanderbilt after her divorce blahblahblah…). I didn’t take any photos of this apparently – hard to do when walking two energetic dogs.

b0bbacf1-9a0f-4065-9362-5c2ec51f8e14 7a039b5f-f189-4dfb-ba1a-04b3b06fbc70 78058831-63f9-4f2d-b791-96805da54180

What’s GOOD: OK, I really am NOT much of a follower of the now rich and famous (probably because they are good at hiding and I don’t watch much TV so I miss a lot) but I really am glad that they (the oldies) built some amazing buildings and that Newport is sharing them with us. I can’t help it! I love beautiful amazing buildings.


The home of Doris Duke.

Sidenote: Just watched the movie Into the Storm with Brendan Gleeson as Winston Churchill and if you know anything about that guy, you know his mom was American. But it was a cousin of his that had to marry a Vanderbilt in order to get the money to restore (aka “save from ruin”) Blenheim PALACE! Crazy wild stuff – the aristocracy of Britain and THEIR amazing architectural treasures. I found it all so very freaking fascinating, I do.

What’s NOT so good: Not enough photos in the book! and it jumps around a bit, I got confused who was who and when more times than I can count, but still a fun read.

FINALLY: If you ask me if I could go back in history, I would love to be one of the best friends – thus in the same social class but not quite always in the papers – with this crowd in the late 1800s, through the turn of the century and and into the roaring 20s. Travel! Champagne! Excess to the excess! Parties parties parties!  ah… Would have LOVED to have seen it. In other words, don’t send me back to that time period to be a scullery maid.

RATING: Four slices of pie. (no pie was mentioned as far as I managed to note, anyway.)


Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

RIP to the TENTH

Congratulations to all the RIP-ers who have participated each and every year! I have not but always want to? How’s that for being wicked?

AND on that thought, or coincidentally, . . .

I found myself listening to many Wicked songs from my Broadway Tunes Pandora channel and remarked to somebody that I probably should read Wicked by Gregory Maguire. Honestly, I didn’t even have the book on my tbr at goodreads (a few of  you are shocked knowing how many books ARE on my tbr at goodreads (1528))

and then this somebody person brought me the book to read.

Well, darn.

Since I hadn’t yet pulled The Elegance of the Hedgehog off my shelf to be the next physical book to read, I started Wicked.


This morning, I realized that Wicked would totally count for RIP and so here I am blogging a post about it.

Here’s the badge; it links to the official site and host: rip10500  <– designed by Abigail Larson.

Here is a possible list of other books I may or not read in participation of this grand bookish event:   Wicked, The Secret History (narrated by Donna Tartt), Woman on the Roof by Mignon G. Eberhart, and Salem’s Lot.


And finally,

READ SALEM’s LOT in October with us!  Watch Melissa’s blog for info and thank Trish for the soon to be revealed badge. I think we will be tweeting with hashtag #SalemReadalong?? maybe (to be updated when I know for sure)

Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

I Missed a Spin!

UPDATED 10/24/15 to link to review of my SPIN book:  Mansfield Park

Tis truth to say that I joined the Classics Club mainly because I thought the SPIN idea to be just the coolest. But I missed the latest one and I am most heartbroken. Really, it’s not a big deal; there aren’t any “Classics Police” looking for my failure to participate, so I will just admit to being tardy and participate now.

[Check out this post from the official club website if I have only brought up more questions and you need answers. I intend to plow on as if you know what I am talking about.]


Since I missed the kick off announcement but now already know the number that was chosen (the number is FIVE), I will just use the spin list that I created on the prior spin.

THUS, the _fifth_ book on that list is __(typing this before I actually go look at my list which is linked in the prior sentence)____and I intend to read that by October 23, 2015.

WELL, isn’t THIS interesting…




The fifth book is Mansfield Park! Guess what audiobook I am 80% through already and hope to complete by the end of August?  YES!!  MANSFIELD PARK! 

Isn’t that crazy?! I swear I didn’t know before starting this post. Golly, do I amuse myself.


Perhaps I should just move on and tackle the Classics Meme for August? The question is: “Have you made changes to your list since you first created it? If you added any new titles or removed some, why did you make those changes?”

Yes, yes I have. Now, I’ve only just joined in January of this year so I wasn’t expecting to alter my list so quickly but I am very much a mood-chooser when it comes to which books I read. And with participating in readalongs as they interest me and other challenges, I unabashedly give myself permission to stray from my initial 50. This blog is mine and I do with it what I damn well please, and that includes which books and when. I am a guilt-free blogger.

I have so far NOT kicked any books OFF my list but will only see which books haven’t been read by the time I do check off 50 qualified ‘classics’ in my tracking endeavors. Guess that puts me in the category of being loosey-goosey with that FIFTY. Whatever.

Here’s what I have read that wasn’t on the initial list:

The Winter’s Tale / Shakespeare – Jan 2015 • TO SATISFY a Classics Challenge category

√ The Making of a Marchioness / FHBurnette – Apr2015 • BECAUSE I OWN IT and forgot to put it on my initial 50 (smh)

The Talented Mr. Ripley /PHighsmith June2015 • BECAUSE I got the audiobook on a deal and it sounded good at the time of purchase

Atlas Shrugged / Ayn Rand July2015 • BECAUSE Ti had a readalong, I have always been curious (and I adore long audiobooks)

Assuming I finish Mansfield Park and Things Fall Apart very soon, I will have read 12 classics this year so far. I am thrilled to be ahead of schedule!


Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Guests on Earth

Thoughts goebyls Guests on Earth by Lee Smith, 2013, 328 pages

A couple of things. Where is everyone? Well, I am sure if anyone else is asking that and implying me, yep – I am sort of ‘Off the Grid” or UNPLUGGED at the moment, I guess, only because it is tough to get the good wifi on the devices best for post-writing/visiting/commenting while I “be” on vacation, so NEVERMIND.

And, I’m a wimp. I didn’t like this book. But I don’t know HOW to ‘be nice and not like a book’. Which makes it sound like I do know how to be NOT nice and NOT like a book and that’s not quite it.

I wanted to like this book.

This isn’t even a case of high expectations! It is the case of realizing that this author has many fans so she must have SOME competence, but I realize now that I have discovered her too late. Her early books might be good but she might as well have phoned this one in.

I am sad.

It might have gone somewhere, it might have had promise?

And against all the Go Set a Watchman chatter about having an editor with the golden ovaries to say, “Go rework this and bring it back to me and you might have something.”, I suggest someone on the Smith-Team might have suggested this for this book.

It is teased to be about Zelda aka wife to Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald. There’s really not that much about her.

It has a lovely LOVELY setting in Asheville NC!  yippee – really, I think I liked the setting best of all.

It brings up too many minor characters that get lost.

Thought I teetered between 2 stars and 4, I am settling on 3 stars but it really disappointed me in story structure. I just don’t have the guts to rate it a 2 star. And I did like the first third or so.

She obviously did her research.

She knows how to string sentences together well.

Descriptive sentences were great.

I struggle with praising the character development.

I am not qualified nor have the write words in my critics-toolbox to say what is exactly so disappointing, but…

I was THRILLED for the first 30 pages! I thought, “Oh goodie, I feel this might be a SOMTHIN’ book!”

But it fell flat.

I truly almost didn’t read the last 30 pages. I was almost about to just drop and walk away.


I just didn’t get the point of it.

I dunno.

I’m just SAD.

BEST QUOTE?  p.85-“He might be sweet as pie, or he might take drunk and start sworping around.”

(Did I only just convince you to read it to find out if you agree?!  crazy, huh?)

The book cover will take you to goodreads where you can read all sorts of LOVE and DARN kind of reviews.


Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.


Thoughts heftbylm by Liz Moore, Blackstone Audio 2012, 11 hrs 44 min

Narrated by Kirby Heyborne and Keith Szarabajka

I really enjoyed this. I rated this five slices of lemon pie.

I have read some interesting reviews that mention the ambiguous ending and a disturbing date rape scene. I would like to discuss. If you have read this book, read on and chime in. If you haven’t yet, you can keep reading at your own peril.

Quote:  “… the whole place smelled like lemon and pie.”  –  in Chapter Two

We meet Arthur Opp who is a former professor of English who has not left his house in 10 years while eating and eating and eating himself into a weight estimated between 550 and 600 pounds. He has received contact from a former romantic interest; she was one of his students who had to quit school but became a pen pal who hadn’t corresponded in many years. Arthur decides that this contact should be pursued and makes strides to start ‘moving and improving’ if possible, and it was quite delightful to hear his fears about new acquaintances and situations that impact him on this ‘waking up’.

Another story line is told from the perspective of the son of Arthur’s former penpal/student/love interest. He’s a high school baseball jock hoping for a chance at the big leagues so he can avoid college. His mom is a mess, to put it bluntly.

Even at 80% when the reader KNOWS that these story lines MUST crash or converge or cross OR SOMETHING (all caps to demonstrate how passionately I was worried about this!), it was mind-boggling to speculate how this book would end!  When and how would these story lines tie together?

And thus the ambiguity, because… they almost don’t, not really. But I liked it. I liked it very much, even after a few days after listening to the last word and thinking about it. Even after I listened to that last word and said out loud, “Is that IT?!”

I had feared this would be an ugly cry book. I did cry (gently) at about 95% through or so — When Arthur admits that you don’t get to pick your family and sometimes families suck. So sometimes you have to pick your own substitute family.


Now. The date rape. It didn’t bother me. I mean, sure, it BOTHERS me, and bother is too soft a word for this crime. It’s wrong, it’s scary and it’s wrong-&-scary. I get it. But this scene in this book was realistic and I wasn’t put in that place of objectively confronting my feelings on how the scene played out. (And truthfully, since this was audio, I swear I thought he stopped – maybe in my mind, he did and even though he admits that he sensed her being uncomfortable and he didn’t care, I thought I heard in the telling that he eventually DID stop. But I’m not going to go try and find that place in the audiobook and listen again. I’ll keep my version. Maybe he stopped not out of a conscience to suddenly respect the girl, so that is problematic, true.

I did think that he protested too much to his girlfriend later (thus, only confirming my version of the event, actually) but I want to say to those reviewers on goodreads who had a problem with the date rape scene being too casual and not dealt with in an appropriately severe manner consequentially to the perp, I GET IT.

But I don’t think it shows the author of being lackadaisical to the issue. I think she presented it just like it might happen. Life sucks. Books don’t always get to be the platform for a moral and a lesson. They get to be messy.

This book had charm and grit and attempts to find the light when all you can see is the dark. You don’t have to like the characters; yes, they were flawed. They were real.

I recommend this book. I recommend the audio.

I will read more by this author.


Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea

Thoughts aytvimcbych Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler, Gallery Books 2008, 264 pages

FIRST Sentence: I was nine years old and walking myself to school one morning when I heard the unfamiliar sound of a prepubescent boy calling my name.

TRUTH: Her first essay in this collection was my favorite, Blacklisted. About her amazing ability to embellish and think grandiose stories on a dime, Chelsea demonstrates her ability to talk and cajole and invent wild entertaining tales.

It went downhill after this.

I just got bored with her inane over-the-top depravity.

DEPRAVITY: quality of demonstrating an evil and immoral character.

So maybe, evil is a bit strong and misleading. I really wouldn’t call her evil – it’s just all sex and raunchy and well, . . . boring.

Maybe ‘debauched’ is a better word?

DEBAUCHED: to lead away from virtue* or excellence.

Yea, whatever.

I admit. I’ve only seen her show a few times. I thought she was funny. This book wasn’t that funny. Occasionally, a situation was chuckle-worthy but overall, if I chose to dwell on such concepts like ‘regret’, I could easily regret the time I spent with this book.

By the way, a few antonyms for DEBAUCHED are elevate, ennoble and uplift. I need to spend more time with these kinds of words.

Have a nice day!

Enjoy these flowers from my garden: FullSizeRender


* I am in the THICK (~86%) of the ‘speech’ that is looooong in Atlas Shrugged. Might have something to do with my mind-boggling contemplations of virtue and morality, at the moment.

Copyright © 2007-2015. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

I prefer pi.


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